Top Five Questions When Moving from Digital Trauma to Digital Nirvana

Top Five Questions When Moving from Digital Trauma to Digital Nirvana

New demands to adapt product development processes to support supplier collaboration, information sharing between engineering disciplines, flexible sourcing strategies, and digital transformation projects are uncovering the ugly truth and inadequacy of yesterday’s product lifecycle management solutions.

Recently we ran a webinar to discuss the issues organizations face when trying to advance their digital transformation efforts with their Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software. For example, most organizations struggle with older PLM tools when trying to easily perform routine tasks, make decisions without critical information at their disposal, or fail to collaborate effectively across departmental boundaries. This is what we refer to as digital trauma.

Avoiding digital trauma is possible when companies develop a sustainable focus on engineering and manufacturing users in need of product information. Providing this information can reduce risk and disruption of the product development cycle.

During the webinar, questions were fielded by Tom Gill, senior consultant, CIMdata, and Mark Reisig, vice president of product marketing, Aras. Here are the questions with in-depth answers. We appreciate your engagement with the content below, and if you have any follow-on questions, please reach out to us.

Q: Do you think there is a root cause to the trauma?

Like most complex problems, the answer is “it depends.” The issues vary based on size of the company, type of product, age and culture of the company, and IT landscape. In reality most companies experience all the items discussed in the webinar to one extent or the other - what varies is the weighting. For example, some companies have a clear vision of what they want, but struggle to execute. Others can be the opposite, in that they struggle to have a vision but once they have their task lists, they go on a direct march to the finish line. 

The solution or path to digital nirvana is a holistic plan that solves business issues with reworked processes that enable people to get their jobs done more easily, and a properly configured PLM solution that can support them. Once the plan is developed then it’s up to the solution provider or a systems integrator to execute the plan.

Q: What are the top issues traumatizing organizations?

The prospects we work with are struggling—typically stuck on traditional legacy PLMs, which they can no longer adapt to meet their needs or cost effectively upgrade to stay current.  The net of it is, they’re not innovating, or creating efficiencies and value for their companies.

Most of them can’t adapt to meet the accelerated pace of their changing business requirements. They can’t handle managing their own product complexity—whether across disciplines or the lifecycle. This also leaves them open to a wide variety of existential threats to which they’re unable to react. These more rigid, traditional out-of-the-box PLMs have become more of an obstacle to digital transformation than a means to it.

Q: Why do companies get stuck with digital transformation?

The big reason when selecting traditional PLM software, is that they were forced to customize to meet their requirements when the software was implemented, so they literally got stuck in time—and each year the value gap widens because they can’t take advantage of emerging technologies, can’t deal with the growing complexity of the products they need to design, manufacture and service, nor the unanticipated disruptions. As a result, they become less efficient and miss opportunities.

Deploying non-resilient technology—a smorgasbord of products to manage your products across the lifecycle—not only gets stuck in time, but in scope. Instead of becoming the vehicle to transform your organization, it becomes an impediment to continuous transformation. 

Q: What’s the best way for an organization to get started with digital transformation or at least prove its possible?

Organizations need to understand the impact of their business issues. Issues can be operational and strategic. An example of an operational issue might be we can’t update our solution due to customizations. A strategic issue could be we need to make our products configurable so we can capture higher margins.

Q: What role does resilience play in considering digital transformation projects?

There are many directions to take on the topic of resilience, but let’s choose the most relevant. Within a digital transformation program much will be learned on the journey. Assumptions will be made early for both solution architecture and design. Some of those assumptions will be wrong and solutions will need to change. Resiliency in this context would be the measure of how easily the solution can be updated based on new learnings.

Building Resilience to Digital Trauma

Creating resilience requires a new approach—meaning new ways of thinking, connecting, and collaborating—all of which need access to a precious and often misunderstood resource, product data.

The critical differentiator in successful enterprise ecosystems is the efficient and effective use of product data. If you want your extended enterprise ecosystem to be resilient and adapt to constantly changing market and business dynamics, now is the time to rally behind it.

Most organizations think it’s simply about connecting siloed data. The reality is a successful digital transformation requires new processes and the flexibility to disrupt your standard operating procedures and let go of comfortable, yet outdated tools.  To learn more read our latest eBook, Resilient Digital Transformation, check out the CIMdata commentary, or watch the webinar replay.